Kalm observes that "Swain's sophisticated system of color tones, and spatial relations is a unique direction of investigation, with an obsessive side that boarders on the eccentric. This suite of large paintings, produced specifically for the new Minus Space, provide viewers with an essential view of the artist's achievements."
Paul Corio reviews paintings by Don Voisine at McKenzie Fine Art, New York, on view through June 14, 2015.
Corio writes that a "new device in these pictures is a particular grey which is not mixed but would appear to be produced by applying black paint over a white ground then scraping or sanding back to partially reveal the underlying color. The resulting atmosphere moves these paintings further away from formal readings, and far more into the realm of the poetic, possibly even romantic (although I shouldn’t get too carried away). In 'Landscape Into Art,' the venerable Kenneth Clark suggests that the most difficult thing to accomplish in landscape painting is a convincing evocation of night. In 'Narrows,' the largest picture in the show, two gloss-black spectral rectangles, like giant robotic eyes, emerge from the grey described above, each bordered by a pair of attenuated matte black triangles. The latter shapes act as a bridging color, completing the illusion that the dominant shapes are rising from a spooky, nighttime mist."
Annie Correal profiles painter Leo J. Bates (1944-2013).
Correal writes: "Looking at Mr. Bates’s work, it is clear that something happened when he left Manhattan and moved to Brooklyn. When he plunged into deep solitude, he found something new... Mr. Bates’s last paintings were huge X’s and chevrons that when examined closely revealed tiny grids of dabbed paint. Mrs. Bates said she did not believe that her husband regretted his decision to work in obscurity. His goal had been not to pander to passing tastes, or to scatter his work to the four winds. He had just painted."
In part one of a two part post, Piri Halasz reviews Dee Solin at Andre Zarre Gallery (through April 4) and Jason Karolak: Polyrhythm at McKenzie Fine Art, New York (closed). Part one is linked above, part two of the review is here.
Halasz writes that "both [Solin and Karolak] are not only abstract painters, but more specifically devotees of geometric abstraction—a generic art form to which both artists manage to bring fresh twists. Karolak’s current show displays mostly large and tantalizingly secretive cage- or maze-like images, composed of more or less straight lines and arranged in more or less rectilinear patterns. Solin’s latest paintings are dominated by grids of small discs, marching firmly across the canvas, together with free-form arrangements of dancing smaller discs, and delicate bits of grill-work superimposed. Both are – or can be -- splendid colorists. Upon predominantly black fields, Karolak’s superimposed images are painted with carefully coordinated greens, blues, purples, yellows and occasional reds that are sometimes suspiciously bright, but also sometimes delightfully mellow. The fields upon which Solin ranges her brightly colored discs are themselves vivid panoramas of one color or another, ranging from a vivid blue, red or aqua to a less-successful yellow, then on down to a mild and modest grey or cream."
Gordon Moore interviews painter Joan Waltemath whose exhibition One does not negate the other is on view at Hionas Gallery, New York, through March 14, 2015.
Waltemath comments: "... verticality can set up a one to one relationship to your body when you are standing in front of it. I’ve done horizontal works, and also squares, but since these works are initially focused on getting a recognition of the body to occur, the vertical format is critical... my work has always been concerned with a physical relationship with the body and how the body negotiates the world and receives a painting – through movement."
Sharon Butler blogs about Joan Waltemath: One does not negate the other at Hionas Gallery, New York, on view through March 14, 2015.
Butler writes: "Centuries ago, artists were a bit like chemists, mixing secret recipes for binders and varnishes that least would affect the lightfast quality of their pigments and the surfaces of their canvases. Joan Waltemath, who has a handsome show of abstract paintings on view at Hionas this month, is something of a throwback to those times, grinding her own pigments, experimenting with minerals, concocting mediums, and undertaking other painting-related investigations. The resulting paintings are elegant and spare in terms of imagery, which is based on mathematically-generated harmonic grids, but rich and complex with respect to surface and color."
James Kalm visits Gary Petersen: Not now, but maybe later at THEODORE:Art, Bushwick, Brooklyn. The video includes an extended interview with Petersen about the work in the show and a short interview with gallerist Stephanie Theodore.
Stanley Whitney, Bodyheat, 2012, oil on linen, 96 x 96 inches (courtesy of Team Gallery)
Stanley Whitney: Care of the Brush
There are some artists for whom formalism appears effortless. Their formal rigor, while apparent, dissolves quickly before your eyes into something natural and lifelike. Stanley Whitney is one of these artists. He sets forms in motion and they maneuver themselves into place.
Whitney may work hard in the studio to achieve the ease exuded by these works, but they feel free even when their color and compression suggest dissonance or cacophony. Their abstraction feels familiar rather than distant.
The bold simplicity of Whitney’s paintings is disarming, and they speak to the liveliness that the simple act of painting can invoke. In his paintings, working within given parameters towards a novel resolution feels fresh again and this freshness comes from clarity and the courage to commit to an essential concern - in this case color.
Any painter knows how difficult and how dizzying the world of color can be. Whitney himself recalled seeing “10,000 shades of orange on the street” in India. Limiting the palette is the time-honored method used to reign in the unruliness of color, to subjugate it and task it with reproducing mundane retinal experience; yet Whitney lets color loose and trusts it will organize under the care of the brush. “In a Manet,” he has said, “I might look at what the white in the dress is doing. He changed the touch, and it’s a cloud.”
Charley Peters interviews painter Sharon Hall about her work.
Hall comments: "The paintings evolve from a starting point that uses simple geometry for dividing up the overall surface area through an implicit and rational use of proportion. I have always tried to avoid complex mathematical or geometric permutations in my works, and I strive for a kind of structural simplicity that is then made more complex by the colour, and the emerging painterly and optical relationships. The initial geometric proposition serves only as an armature into and onto which colour is loaded. And it is only with the introduction of colour itself that the paintings really begin for me. While geometry isn’t paramount as a kind of mathematical set of relations in itself, it is crucial to define the colour in order to determine how it is perceived, through neutral shapes or spans across the surface. The divisions and parts of the paintings can appear optically as empty space by using close tonalities, and the underlying geometry is sometimes rendered almost invisible. The eventual resolution of the paintings is ‘found’, rather than being predetermined or locked into an overtly rigid map, so they can proceed quite intuitively and imaginatively."
Paul Corio pens a great round up of recent and current abstract painting shows in New York, including: Warren Isensee at Danese Corey (through Feb 7), January (group show) at Mixed Greens (through Feb 14), Dan Walsh at Paula Cooper, Kellyann Burns at McKenzie Fine Art (through Feb 8), Cheyney Thompson at Andrew Kreps (through Feb 22), Clinton King at Transmitter (through Feb 15), Gary Petersen at Theodore:Art (through February 22), Siri Berg at Hionas Gallery (through Feb 7), Sarah Eichner at Sears Peyton (through Feb 7), Working Knowledge (group show) at Lorimoto (through Feb 8), and Elements (group show) at Minus Space (through February21).
Edited by artist Brett Baker, Painters' Table highlights writing from the painting blogosphere as it is published and serves as a platform for exploring blogs that focus primarily on the subject of painting.